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Articles

  1. HISTORICAL FOUNDATIONS OF CHRISTIANITY
  2. Cultural Vandalism
  3. See a Problem?
  4. 8 Famous Barbarian Leaders - HISTORY

His commentary on the Sermon on the Mount is still read today. Perhaps most debated are his views on predestination. Augustine is the doctor of grace. In his book Grace and Free Will , he explained simply why he believed in free will. If there was no free will, then why did God give us the Ten Commandments, and why did he tell us to love our neighbor?

Augustine's arguments against the Pelagian heresy set the doctrine of grace for the Catholic Church to the present day. Pelagius thought that man could achieve virtue and salvation on his own without the gift of grace, that Jesus was simply a model of virtue. This of course attacks the Redemption of man by Christ! If man could make it on his own, then the Cross of Christ becomes meaningless! But Augustine saw man's utter sinfulness and the blessing and efficacy of grace, disposing man to accept his moment of grace, and hopefully ultimate salvation.

Grace raises us to a life of virtue, and is the ground of human freedom. Perhaps one of his greatest works was The City of God, which took 13 years to complete, from to History can only be understood as a continued struggle between two cities, the City of God, comprised of those men who pursue God, and the City of Man, composed of those who pursue earthly goods and pleasures. He refers to Cain and Abel as the earliest examples of the two types of man.

The Roman Empire was an example of the city of man which had just been sacked by Alaric in and was the occasion of the book. Augustine was a living example of God's grace that transformed nature. He died August 28, , during the sack of Hippo by the Vandals. August 28 is celebrated as his Feast Day in the liturgical calendar. Pope Leo entered the Papacy at a difficult time. Alaric had sacked Rome in , and the Huns and the Visigoths were gaining strength.

However the Pope proved to be a master statesman and history has deservedly accorded him the title of Pope Leo the Great. One of his first actions in was to bless the missionary efforts of St.


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  • The Barbarian Conversion: From Paganism to Christianity by Richard Fletcher.

Patrick and to ordain him as Bishop of Ireland. A tension in Church authority between papal leadership and collegiality of the bishops was developing over theological questions. Rome was the place of martyrdom for Saints Peter and Paul. Rome's position as the capital of the Roman Empire was also supportive of a leadership role for the Bishop of Rome.

The Bishop of Rome as successor to St. Peter was the Pastor and Shepherd of the whole Church, as seen with St. The independent Church of the East in Persia believed in two distinct natures dyophysite in Christ and did not accept the wording. Pope Leo synthesized the thought of the differing Schools of Antioch and Alexandria in a letter known as the Tome. The Council of Chalcedon in was the Fourth Ecumenical Council, which supported Leo's stance that Christ had two natures, Divine and human in perfect harmony, in one Person or hypostasis.

This set the theology for Roman and Byzantine theology and was important for European unity. Just one year later , Attila and the Huns were threatening outside the walls of Rome. Pope Leo met Attila, who decided to call off the invasion! The Monastic Orders have been a premium influence on the formation of Christian culture. For not only have they been islands of asceticism and holiness that have served as ideals to a secular world, but also they have provided many if not most of the religious leaders within each historic age, especially during times of renewal and reform.

The word monos is the Greek word for one or alone. Monasticism began in the East and spread throughout Europe and saved European civilization. The practice of leaving the ambitions of daily life and retreating to the solitude of the desert was seen throughout Palestine, Syria, and Egypt, St. John the Baptist Mark an early example. The father of Christian monasticism was St. Antony of the Desert , the first of the Desert Fathers.

Antony of Egypt took to heart the words of Christ to the rich young man, " Go sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven" Matthew He headed across the Nile to a mountain near Pispir to live a life of solitude, prayer, and poverty. Soon many gathered around him to imitate his life, living as hermits in nearby caves in the mountain, and in he emerged from solitude to teach his followers the way of the ascetic. He then moved further into the desert by Mount Kolzim near the Red Sea, where a second group of hermits gathered and later formed a monastery.

He lived there for 45 years until his death in Maron , a contemporary of St. John Chrysostom, was a monk in the fourth century who left Antioch for the Orontes River to lead a life of holiness and prayer. As he was given the gift of healing, his life of solitude was short-lived, and soon he had many followers that adopted his monastic way.

Following the death of St. Maron in , his disciples built a monastery in his memory, which would form the nucleus of the Eastern Catholic Maronite Church of Lebanon. The fall of the Roman Empire to the barbarian invasions left European civilization in disarray, for the social structure under one ruler in Rome was destroyed.

The preservation of culture and the conversion of the barbarians to Christianity was left to an unlikely group: the monastics of Europe. Their missionary efforts converted one tribe after another, so that eventually all of Europe was united in the worship of the one Christian God. Patrick as Apostle to Ireland founded the monastery of Armagh in and other monasteries throughout Ireland. As the social unit in Ireland and much of Europe at the time was the tribe in the countryside, the monastery was the center of Church life and learning. The Irish monks that followed him converted much of northern Europe.

The lasting legacy of the Irish monks has been the present-day form of confession.

In early times, penance was in public and severe, often lasting for years, such that Baptism was generally postponed until one's deathbed. The Irish monks began private confession and allowed one to repeat confession as necessary. The monk St. Benedict was born in Nursia of nobility but chose a life of solitude in Subiaco outside of Rome. Soon he moved nearby to build a monastery at Monte Cassino in and there wrote the Rule of Benedict. Monte Cassino placed all of the monks in one monastery under an abbot.

The guiding principle for the monastery was ora et labora , or pray and work. The monastery provided adequate food and a place to sleep and served as a center of conversion and learning. Known for its moderation, Monte Cassino and Benedict's rule became the standard for monasteries throughout Europe and the pattern for Western civilization.

The first monk to become Pope was St. Gregory the Great Born to Roman nobility, Gregory at first pursued a political career and became Prefect of Rome. However he gave up position and wealth and retreated to his home to lead a monastic life.

He was recalled to Rome and soon was elected Pope in and served until his death in A man of great energy, he is known for four historic achievements. His theological and spiritual writings shaped the thought of the Middle Ages ; he made the Pope the de facto ruler of central Italy; his charisma strengthened the Papacy in the West; and he was dedicated to the conversion of England to Christianity. Gregory sent the monk Augustine to England in The conversion of King Aethelbert of Kent led St. Augustine to be named the first Archbishop of Canterbury. Soon English Benedictine monks were being sent to convert the rest of Europe, such as the English monk Winfrid, better known as St.

Boniface , who served from as the Apostle to Germany. Boniface in his conversion of Germany. His son Pepin and the Papacy formed an historic alliance. Pepin needed the blessing of the Pope in his seizure of leadership of Gaul from the Merovingians. Pepin died in and divided his realm between his two sons, Carloman and Charles. Charles, known as Charlemagne , took over all of Gaul upon the death of his brother in , and soon conquered most of mainland Europe. He was a vigorous leader and ruled until Charlemagne was a strong supporter of Christianity. During his reign, Christianity became the guiding principle of the Carolingian Empire, as the Church established a powerful presence throughout Europe.

He instituted a school of learning in his palace at Aachen. In the Middle Ages there was in theory a division between temporal power and spiritual authority, but in practice one saw a strong Emperor take control of some spiritual affairs and a strong Pope take control of some affairs of state. Charlemagne, as Constantine, considered himself the leader of Christendom as political head of state and protector of the Church.

The historian Christopher Dawson called this the beginning of medieval Christendom. The Byzantine Empire of the East, with its capital in Constantinople, flourished for a thousand years. The Empire reached its zenith under Emperor Justinian, the author of the Justinian Code of Law, who ruled from to Justinian built the beautiful Church of Hagia Sophia in Constantinople in , which became a center of religious thought. The Byzantine or Greek liturgy is based on the tradition of St. Basil and the subsequent reform of St.

John Chrysostom. The Byzantine missionaries Saints Cyril and Methodius brought Christianity to Moravia, and Cyril created the Cyrillic alphabet for their liturgy, which became the basis of the Slavic languages, including Russian. Kiev was once the capital of the country of Kievan Rus, which comprised the modern nations of Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus. In the sixteenth century, a Russian mystic Philotheus of Pskof noted that Rome and Constantinople, the second Rome, had fallen, but "Moscow, the third Rome," stands. The Russian Orthodox Church today is the largest Eastern Orthodox faith with over million members.

One of the most tragic events in Church history has been the Schism of between what is now the Catholic Church in Rome and the Byzantine or Eastern Orthodox Church in Constantinople. The actual event occurred on July 16, The abrasive Cardinal Humbert laid a papal bull of excommunication after Pope Leo had died on the altar right during the Liturgy at the Church of Hagia Sophia, which led the Eastern Church to excommunicate the envoy.

While the event did not end the relationship between the Eastern and Western Churches, it became symbolic for the distrust and strain between the East and the West that developed through the centuries. The break was sealed in with the sacking of Constantinople during the Fourth Crusade. Rome and Constantinople had been able to agree through three more Councils.

The fifth ecumenical council at Constantinople II in was called by the Emperor Justinian and reaffirmed that there is only one person or hypostasis in our Lord Jesus Christ. In response to the Monothelites, that Christ had only one will, the sixth ecumenical council affirmed the efforts of St. Maximus the Confessor at Constantinople III in and confessed that Christ had two wills and two natural operations John , divine and human in harmony. The seventh ecumenical council at Nicaea II in resolved the iconoclast controversy thanks to the writings of St. John of Damascus: since Jesus had a true humanity and his body was finite, it was only proper to venerate holy images of the human face of Jesus, as well as Mary and the saints.

However, the language of Rome was Latin, and that of Constantinople Greek. There was a difference in perception of Church authority between the East and West. Latin Rome believed the Pontiff, as the representative of Peter, was Pastor and Shepherd to the whole Church, whereas the Greek East saw the Pope, the Bishop of Rome and representative of Peter, as presiding with love in the sense of collegiality, as a first among equals. This difference in perception of Church authority produced the conflict over the addition of the word filioque - and the Son - to the Nicene Creed by the Roman Catholic Church.

Theological thought on the Trinity had progressed with time, particularly with St. Augustine, who saw the Holy Spirit as an expression of love between the Father and the Son. King Recared and his Visigothic bishops converted from Arianism to Catholicism at the Third Council of Toledo, Spain in and were required to add the word filioque to the Creed. Charlemagne in insisted on its addition, so that the phrase read "the Holy Spirit who proceeds from the Father and the Son".

The Eastern Orthodox Churches claim that the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed is the common possession of the whole church and that any change must be made by an ecumenical Council. Catholic Spain was the first European territory to suffer Islamic invasion in when the Berber general Ibn Tariq conquered nearly all of Spain except the northern rim. The discovery of the relics of St. As recorded in the late ninth-century Chronicle of Alfonso III, Pelayo became the inspiration for the rightful recovery of Spanish territory lost to Muslim invasion.

THE LIFE AND TEACHINGS OF JESUS CHRIST

Spain was troubled in when the Moor Almanzor usurped the power of the Caliphate and sacked the city and Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in the northwest tip of Spain, but spared the tomb of St. James Santiago in Spanish. With the loss of respect for the Caliphate, Al-Andalus fractured into multiple petty states, known as Taifas.

El Cid held off the Muslims in Valencia until his death in The Reconquista of Spain, or the unification of Spain under Christian rule, was not formally completed until the reign of Ferdinand and Isabella, when Granada was captured from the Moors on January 2, Pope Urban II, in one of history's most powerful speeches, launched years of the Crusades at the Council of Clermont, France on November 27, with this impassioned plea. In a rare public session in an open field, he urged the knights and noblemen to win back the Holy Land, to face their sins, and called upon those present to save their souls and become Soldiers of Christ.

Those who took the vow for the pilgrimage were to wear the sign of the cross croix in French : and so evolved the word croisade or Crusade. By the time his speech ended, the captivated audience began shouting Deus le volt! The expression became the battle-cry of the crusades. Three reasons are primarily given for the beginning of the Crusades: 1 to free Jerusalem and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre; 2 to defend the Christian East, hopefully healing the rift between Roman and Orthodox Christianity; and 3 to marshal the energy of the constantly warring feudal lords and knights into the one cause of penitential warfare.

The Church of the Holy Sepulchre was once again in Christian hands and restored. The Kingdom of Jerusalem lasted 88 years, until Saladin recaptured the city October 2, The four Crusader states eventually collapsed; the surrender of Acre in ended years of formal Christian rule in the Holy Land. The twelfth and thirteenth centuries were the peak of the Medieval Age. It was the flowering of Christendom, a time of extraordinary intellectual activity, with the rise of the University and the introduction of Arabian, Hebrew, and Greek works into Christian schools.

A new form of order arose whose aim was to pursue the monastic ideals of poverty, renunciation, and self-sacrifice, but also to maintain a presence and convert the world by example and preaching. They were known as friars and called the Mendicant Orders Franciscans, Dominicans, Carmelites, Augustinians, and the Servites , because of begging alms to support themselves. Francis of Assisi was born to wealth. He loved adventure, but experienced conversion after joining the military.

He returned home, and heard a voice saying to him, "Francis, go and rebuild my house; it is falling down. Francis loved creation and considered it good, for Christ himself took on flesh in the Incarnation. He loved all living creatures. Francis originated the Christmas manger scene. He founded the Franciscan order, and received approval from Rome in The Poor Clare Nuns began when St. Clare joined the Franciscans in in Assisi. In St. Francis risked his life in the Fifth Crusade by calling directly upon the Sultan of Egypt in an effort to convert him and bring peace.

He received the stigmata of Christ in , 2 years before his death in Dominic de Guzman was born in Calaruega, Spain.

HISTORICAL FOUNDATIONS OF CHRISTIANITY

On a journey through France he was confronted by the Albigensian heresy like Manichaeism and the Cathari. As he came with a Bishop in richly dressed clothes on horses, he realized the people would not be impressed with his message. This led him to a life of poverty. He spent several years preaching in France in an attempt to convert the Albigensians. In in Prouille, France, he received a vision of the Blessed Virgin Mary and began to spread devotion to the Rosary.

Dominic was a man of peace and converted many through prayer, preaching, and his example of poverty. He founded the Order of Preachers in known as the Dominican Friars. The universities in Europe began as guilds of scholars, which first attracted members of the clergy and were supported financially by the Church.

The first universities in Europe were founded in Bologna and Paris; Oxford and Cambridge soon followed. Theology, law, and medicine were fields of advanced study. The age was the time of Scholasticism - of the schools, a method of learning that placed emphasis on reasoning. Important writers at the time were Bonaventure, Duns Scotus, Albertus Magnus, and his student Thomas Aquinas, who became the greatest theologian and philosopher of the age. Thomas Aquinas was a Dominican priest who lived from to Born in Roccasecca, Italy to the Aquino family, he joined the Dominicans at the age of He received his doctorate in theology and taught at the University of Paris during the height of Christendom.

One of the greatest contributions by Thomas was his incorporation of the philosophy of Aristotle into the theology of the Catholic Church. Thomas saw reason and faith as one and mutually supportive, and combined the Bible and Church Fathers and the reasoning of Aristotle into one unified system of understanding Christian revelation through faith enlightened by reason.

His most noted work was the Summa Theologica , a five-volume masterpiece. Thomas Aquinas presented the classical approach to Biblical Exegesis. Recalling the words of Gregory that Scripture transcends every science, " for in one and the same sentence, while it describes a fact, it reveals a mystery. His exposition on the Seven Sacraments remains a standard to our present day. The Renaissance , which means rebirth, was the period of phenomenal growth in Western culture in art, architecture, literature, and sculpture. Christian humanism, a rejoicing in man's achievements and capabilities reflecting the greater glory of God, had its beginning with the Divine Comedy , published in by Dante Alighieri in Italy.

The Renaissance continued through the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries until William Shakespeare. Michelangelo, Raphael, Leonardo da Vinci, and Botticelli led the way in art. Brunelleschi revived the ancient Roman style of architecture and introduced linear perspective. The great sculptors were Donatello and Michelangelo. Thomas More and Erasmus were leading Christian humanists in literature. The Protestant Reformation resulted from the failure of the Catholic Church to reform itself in time. The dark side of the thirteenth through fifteenth centuries witnessed the errant Fourth Crusade to Constantinople in , the Albigensian Crusade against the Cathari in , and the beginning of the Inquisition which became severely punitive.

The Papacy suffered a great loss of respect during the Avignon Papacy and especially during the Papal Schism , when two and at one point three men declared themselves Pope and opposed each other. However, the Council also condemned John Hus , the Prague reformer who believed in the priesthood of all believers and the reception of Communion through bread and wine; he was burned at the stake on July 6, Another victim of the Inquisition was St. She was burned at the stake on May 30, in Rouen, France. The Spanish Inquisition in the fifteenth century was particularly ruthless.

The lack of Church funds led to even further corruption, including simony and the selling of indulgences. For example, Archbishop Albrecht of Mainz had to pay Rome ten thousand ducats for the right to hold three dioceses at once, and agreed to a three-way split with the Roman Curia and the Fugger Banking firm from the proceeds of the selling of indulgences. These events led many to question the compassion and integrity of the Church.

The unity of Tradition and Scripture went unchallenged through the Patristic Age and thirteenth century scholasticists such as St. Bonaventure and St. Thomas Aquinas. But the unity of Scripture and Tradition began to be questioned with the decline of the Church. The Belgian Henry of Ghent believed that one should first have the duty to follow Scripture rather than a Church that became one in name only. The English Franciscan William of Ockham or Occam was known for the principle of Occam's Razor , that one needs to reduce everything to its simplest cause.

Ockham theorized on three possibilities of the relation of Scripture and the Church.

Cultural Vandalism

First there was Sola Scriptura , that one could obtain salvation by following Scripture alone; second, that God does reveal truths to the universal Church, an ecclesiastical revelation supplemental to apostolic revelation; and third, the concept of orally transmitted apostolic revelation parallel to written Scripture.

Ockham believed that one could reach God only through faith and not by reason. He wrote that universals, such as truth, beauty, and goodness, were concepts of the mind and did not exist, a philosophy known as Nominalism. Thus began the division of the realm of faith from the secular world of reason. The rise of Nationalism led to the end of Christendom, for countries resented any effort to support Rome, especially in its dismal state. Dissemination of new ideas followed the invention of the movable type printing press by Johannes Gutenberg in Mainz, Germany; his very first printing was the Latin Vulgate Bible in The stage was set for the reform-minded Martin Luther , the Augustinian monk of Wittenberg, Germany.

He received his doctorate in theology in , and then taught biblical studies at the University of Wittenberg. His study of Scripture, particularly St. Paul in his Letter to the Romans, led him to believe that salvation was obtained through justification by faith alone. At first, his only interest was one of reform when he posted his 95 theses on the door of the Wittenberg Church October 31, But the intransigence of the Church and poor handling of the situation by the Pope and Curia only worsened matters, such that a break was inevitable.

In a July debate with the Catholic theologian Johann Eck, Luther stated that Sola Scriptura - Scripture alone - was the supreme authority in religion. He could no longer accept the authority of the Pope or the Councils, such as Constance. In Luther published three documents which laid down the fundamental principles of the Reformation. His goal is to understand, and the historian must enter the world of the sources in order to understand motives, etc.

In some respects it is a treatise on missiology, because they were facing many of the same issues that the modern missionary faces. Heavyweight read, but oh so brilliant. The subtitle is 'From Paganism to Christianity AD' and it really does that - gives you a picture of years with a framework to interpret it.

04. The Christian Roman Empire

Jul 31, Brad rated it it was amazing. The best book I ever read. Patrick] was the first person in Christian history to take the scriptural injunctions literally; to grasp that teaching all nations meant teaching even barbarians who lived beyond the frontiers of the Roman empire. Jul 23, Kevin Moynihan rated it it was amazing Shelves: zzz-read , zzth-century-history , zzth-century-history , zzth-century-history , zzth-century , ancient-rome.

Fantastic book covering so much. Incredibly in-depth for a book that covers such a long timeframe. Jun 09, Nancy McQueen rated it did not like it Shelves: religious-history , history. May go back to it, may not. Very dry. Oct 28, Debbi rated it it was amazing. Richard Fletcher presents a well-researched and documented account of the processes by which the various European tribes and groups were brought to Christianity. As Christianity grew in power and influence in Rome and as the Barbarian tribes came under the Empire's governance, there was a push to bring everyone under the umbrella of the faith.

Fletcher demonstrates that rather than a matter of personal change of heart and sincere belief in the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth--or even the teaching Richard Fletcher presents a well-researched and documented account of the processes by which the various European tribes and groups were brought to Christianity. Fletcher demonstrates that rather than a matter of personal change of heart and sincere belief in the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth--or even the teachings of the organized church at the time--the adoption of Christianity was more often the result of political or social expedient on the part of a tribal leader who then required acceptance on the part of all of those he governed.

Missionaries such as Patrick or Boniface are often credited with bringing hundreds or thousands of souls to Christ at once. In fact that is why they were canonized: their great success in converting the Pagan tribes to the true faith. More often than not, however, the masses were baptized at the point of the sword of their master--not because of any change of heart on their own part. Fletcher further shows that many of these conversions were on the lines of accepting a new ritual and liturgy, but not always a complete abandonment of the old rituals and beliefs.

Many Pagan celebrations were co-opted into the Christian ritual and calendar by simply changing the ostensible reason for the feast or rite. One king who was chastised for continuing to sacrifice to his old gods after his baptized is quoted as replying that he was rich enough to sacrifice to all of the gods and planned to continue to do so.

Fletcher includes the process that each major group in Europe took on their road to baptism into the Christian faith. Some were brought into the Western or Roman faith, while others were baptized into the Greek or Eastern branch of Christianity. For many, the determination was made on grounds of geographic location.


  • Miracle on the 17th Green.
  • HISTORICAL FOUNDATIONS OF CHRISTIANITY.
  • HISTORICAL FOUNDATIONS OF CHRISTIANITY!

Others were influenced by marriage. If a Pagan king married a woman who had been baptized into the Eastern faith, he and his people became Orthodox Christians. If the wife was of the Western faith, her husband and those he governed became adherents of Roman Catholic Christianity. Finally, Fletcher emphasizes that we have no written record of exactly what the Pagan tribes believed, what their rituals were and what they symbolized, nor how they practiced their religions.

Therefore we really don't know what they gave up, what they brought with them to their new faith. We also have, in many instances, little evidence of how individual lives were changed when the king or chieftan ordered his people's mass baptism. Were they truly converted to a belief in message of Jesus or the eternal salvation offered by the church?

Or did they simply change the rituals and outward observances that were practiced? Because we only hear from a few literate and articulate individuals and not from the masses, we will never know whether they were actually converted or not. Dec 27, Chris Jaffe rated it really liked it Shelves: european-history , history. Fletcher knows his stuff, or at least knows it as well as he can given the limitations of sources. This book covers roughly 1, years - from Constantine in the 4th century until the acceptance of Christianity by Lithuania the last pagan holdout in the 14th century.

Fletcher tries to go beyond the normal top level history -- Constantine converted, and so went Rome; Charlemagne invaded Saxony and they converted. Fletcher tries to look beyond that and tries to figure out what conversion meant, Fletcher knows his stuff, or at least knows it as well as he can given the limitations of sources. Fletcher tries to look beyond that and tries to figure out what conversion meant, what it meant to be a Christian, why people converted, how long did it take for the religion to plant firm roots, and the like.

Clearly, sources are limited for on-the-ground studies of Medieval European religion, but Fletcher gleans what he can. The religion generally began in cities. Even in Rome, it was largely an urban affair. But these places were also the power centers. Early on, the religion was seen as something just for Rome, but gradually a missionary impulse began. Some of the early missionaries went to the countryside.

See a Problem?

When Rome's western half fell, there was a desire to keep it Christian, which also aided a missionary impulse. The monasteries and monks from Ireland played a sizable role in helping convert the Germanic tribes. It started with gaining the support of powerful leaders, and it slowly moved downhill from there. The book begins to wear as it moves along, as it's often the same tale being told time and time again as the religion spreads further across Europe. That's a bit unfair - the tale isn't exactly the same time and time again, but it's largely similar as things keep moving further east and north across Europe.

It picks up a bit towards the end as the sheer heft of the Christian community helped spread it further and the Wends became the first pagan people to create a thorough theology to oppose Christianity. But of course it wasn't to be. Aug 19, Jonathan rated it it was ok Shelves: non-fiction , medieval-history , religion. Excuse me, I just woke up from the nap this book caused me to involuntarily take. One would think the author could spin an at-least-somewhat exciting story given the whole conversion of Europe to Christianity theme.

Apparently, though, this is one of the more boring subject available to the aspiring historian. Okay, so its probably not entirely the author's fault. Part of the problem lies in the fact that we have so few reliable sources of information for the time period. The important word there is reliable. Because we do in fact have reams and reams of hysterically implausible hagiographical fairy tales to draw on, but its hard to give much factual credence to contemporary authors who report of magical white rocks that have the powers of healing, disappearance, death-dealing from a distance, and of course lets not forget the ability to judge good Christians from bad.

You can make your own crack-cocaine jokes from that sentence, I refuse to. The problem is that these Excursions in Hagiography good band name! The rest is a jumbled list of nigh-unpronounceable proper nouns that jumps between Spain, England, France, Germany, Scandinavia and parts in-between with little sense of direction or purpose. All the information's there, it's just not put together very well. This book has taught me that just because you know a lot about something, doesn't mean you should write a page book about it.

It's disappointing too, because I really thought I would enjoy this book, but I just Jan 06, Cypress Butane added it Shelves: back-burner. I know the story about how the gods like Pan, the horned God of witchcraft, became shunned as the popular image of Satan, and thus the Christian religion corrupted the nature religions by changing the meaning of the symbols, but why did Christianity fight paganism so much? Was it just competition? This is kind of a reverse gloss over the usual books I've been reading which are history books of wicca and paganism which try to congeal what little evidence there is for the history of these 'religions' into coherent systems, in light of recent developments and neo-movements.

But still, there's probably more to say, I've only read the first 35 pages. PG chapter 2 finished By destroying pagan places of worship and performing 'miracles', then quickly building a church on the razed site, you can convert a people to Christianity. Or, because the bishops are sanctioned by a state who has adopted the religion, and it is now a 'club' of sorts, the bishops will chastise the people, castigating them for their rustic ways.

But there are overlapping identities, confusions, and pagan survivals. Chapter Fletcher provides a wealth of information about the spread of Christianity through all of Europe over years. At times it becomes tedious and overwhelming, but his entire point is that, while the goals and processes of conversion do change, there still remain patterns or "topos" that we can find in the methods of conversion.

Like the fact that, especially in the early conversion of Western Europe, cultures invariably became Christian through the aristocracy, starting with the conversion of a Fletcher provides a wealth of information about the spread of Christianity through all of Europe over years. Like the fact that, especially in the early conversion of Western Europe, cultures invariably became Christian through the aristocracy, starting with the conversion of a king, usually through the marriage of that king to an already Christian bride. But one of the more interesting things that Fletcher does here is to question the various levels of conversion.

Monasticism became quite popular in the Middle Ages, with religion being the most important force in Europe. Monks and nuns were to live isolated from the world to become closer to God.

8 Famous Barbarian Leaders - HISTORY

Monks provided service to the church by copying manuscripts, creating art, educating people, and working as missionaries. Convents were especially appealing to women. It was the only place they would receive any sort of education or power. It also let them escape unwanted marriages. From the 6th century onward most of the monasteries in the West were of the Benedictine Order.

He then attracted followers with whom he founded the monastery of Monte Cassino, between Rome and Naples, around He established the Rule, adapting in part the earlier anonymous Rule of the Master Regula magistri , which was written somewhere south of Rome around , and defined the activities of the monastery, its officers, and their responsibilities.

Early Benedictine monasteries were relatively small and consisted of an oratory, a refectory, a dormitory, a scriptorium, guest accommodation, and out-buildings, a group of often quite separate rooms more reminiscent of a decent-sized Roman villa than a large medieval abbey. A monastery of about a dozen monks would have been normal during this period. Medieval monastic life consisted of prayer, reading, and manual labor. Apart from prayer, monks performed a variety of tasks, such as preparing medicine, lettering, and reading.

These monks would also work in the gardens and on the land. They might also spend time in the Cloister, a covered colonnade around a courtyard, where they would pray or read. Some monasteries held a scriptorium where monks would write or copy books. When the monks wrote, they used very neat handwriting and would draw illustrations in the books.

As a part of their unique writing style, they decorated the first letter of each paragraph. The monasteries were the central storehouses and producers of knowledge. The next wave of monastic reform after the Benedictines came with the Cistercian movement. The keynote of Cistercian life was a return to a literal observance of the Benedictine Rule, rejecting the developments of the Benedictines.

The most striking feature in the reform was the return to manual labour, and especially to field work. Inspired by Bernard of Clairvaux, the primary builder of the Cistercians, the Cistercians became the main force of technological diffusion in medieval Europe. By the end of the 12th century the Cistercian houses numbered , and at its height in the 15th century the order claimed to have close to houses. Most of these were built in wilderness areas, and played a major part in bringing such isolated parts of Europe into economic cultivation.

During the rule of Pope Innocent III — , two of the most famous monastic orders were founded. They were called the mendicant, or begging, orders because their members begged for the food and clothes. At their foundation these orders rejected the previously established monastic model of living in one stable, isolated community where members worked at a trade and owned property in common, including land, buildings, and other wealth.

By contrast, the mendicants avoided owning property, did not work at a trade, and embraced a poor, often itinerant lifestyle. They depended for their survival on the goodwill of the people to whom they preached. They would usually travel in pairs, preaching, healing the sick, and helping the poor. Francis of Assisi founded the order of the Franciscans, who were known for their charitable work. The Dominicans, founded by Saint Dominic, focused on teaching, preaching, and suppressing heresy. The Dominican Order came into being in the Middle Ages at a time when religion was starting to be contemplated in a new way.

Men of God were no longer expected to stay behind the walls of a cloister. Instead, they traveled among the people, taking as their examples the apostles of the primitive Church. Like his contemporary, Francis, Dominic saw the need for a new type of organization, and the quick growth of the Dominicans and Franciscans during their first century of existence confirms that the orders of mendicant friars met a need.

The inspiration for the Franciscan Order came in when Francis heard a sermon on Matthew that made such an impression on him that he decided to devote himself wholly to a life of apostolic poverty. Clad in a rough garment, barefoot, and, after the Evangelical precept, without staff or scrip, he began to preach repentance. Francis was soon joined by a prominent fellow townsman, Bernard of Quintavalle, who contributed all that he had to the work, and by other companions, who are said to have reached eleven within a year.

The brothers lived in the deserted leper colony of Rivo Torto near Assisi, but they spent much of their time traveling through the mountainous districts of Umbria, always cheerful and full of songs, yet making a deep impression on their hearers by their earnest exhortations. Their life was extremely ascetic, though such practices were apparently not prescribed by the first rule that Francis gave them probably as early as , which seems to have been nothing more than a collection of Scriptural passages emphasizing the duty of poverty.

Similar to Francis, Dominic sought to establish a new kind of order, one that would bring the dedication and systematic education of the older monastic orders like the Benedictines to bear on the religious problems of the burgeoning population of cities, but with more organizational flexibility than either monastic orders or the secular clergy. Dominic inspired his followers with loyalty to learning and virtue, a deep recognition of the spiritual power of worldly deprivation and the religious state, and a highly developed governmental structure.

They were both active in preaching and contemplative in study, prayer, and meditation. The brethren of the Dominican Order were urban and learned, as well as contemplative and mystical in their spirituality. While these traits had an impact on the women of the order, the nuns especially absorbed the latter characteristics and made them their own. In England, the Dominican nuns blended these elements with their own defining characteristics and created a spirituality and collective personality that set them apart.

The Western Schism was a prolonged period of crisis in Latin Christendom from to , when there was conflict concerning the rightful holder of the papacy. During that time, three men simultaneously claimed to be the true pope. Driven by politics rather than any theological disagreement, the schism was ended by the Council of Constance — For a time these rival claims to the papal throne damaged the reputation of the office.

The schism in the Western Roman Church resulted from the return of the papacy to Rome under Gregory XI on January 17, , ending the Avignon Papacy, which had developed a reputation for corruption that estranged major parts of western Christendom. On April 8, the cardinals elected a Neapolitan when no viable Roman candidates presented themselves. Urban had been a respected administrator in the papal chancery at Avignon, but as pope he proved suspicious, reformist, and prone to violent outbursts of temper.

Many of the cardinals who had elected him soon regretted their decision; the majority removed themselves from Rome to Anagni, where, even though Urban was still reigning, they elected Robert of Geneva as a rival pope on September 20, This second election threw the church into turmoil. There had been antipopes —rival claimants to the papacy—before, but most of them had been appointed by various rival factions; in this case, a single group of church leaders had created both the pope and the antipope.